During the chilly early morning hours of Youth Day (16 June) some very enthusiastic birding teams met outside the General Piet Joubert School to receive their lists of cryptic clues from the race organiser. As always, after the teams have received their clues, strategies again varied with some choosing to crack the clues en-route to their first birding site while others sat around the parking lot googling in an attempt to crack the some of the clues. Once solved, the cryptic clues revealed 12 local bird species. These included Hamerkop, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Three-banded Plover, Pied Kingfisher, Groundscraper Thrush and Marabou Stork. Fairly common birds you may think, but finding and photographing them with the pressure of the clock ticking, is quite a tricky and nerve-wracking task.
The assignment proved a little more challenging than usual so no record breaking times were posted this year around. Nonetheless, the reigning champions The Swifts came in two hours after the start followed by the Mixed Breeds who pipped the 4-Vinkies into second place. Once the adjudication was completed it turned out that the scores were extremely close but there was confirmation that the swift Engelbrechts took the gold medal for the second year running.
After the prize giving the teams settled down to some social banter at the post-match braai in the Piet Joubert Lapa. Once again this club activity proved to be very successful and most enjoyable and will continue to feature on the Birdlife Polokwane events calendar.
The leader of a novice team (I think they called themselves the Fledglings) was overheard saying that they will be practising and will be much sharper in order to beat the leading teams next year. Lets see if they can walk the walk as well as they can talk the talk in 2016.